Transform regular pastoral care into missionary work

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In this article, the author (Ivica Jurić) offers a critical reflection on pastoral care within the parish community. In the first chapter, the author analyses the ambivalence of modern culture through a theological and pastoral perspective and its consequences for the Church’s pastoral dimension. The second chapter emphasises recognising the signs of the times and the importance of building a personal relationship with God as well as cooperating with others in the common mission of building the Kingdom of God. The conclusion presents some proposals and guidelines for transforming the Church in the synodal spirit. In the process of continually bringing the Christian message up to date (aggiornamento), the author highlights the importance of authenticity, fidelity to Christian truth, closeness, existential conversion and ongoing rivalry with modern man in his joys and sorrows, successes and mistakes.


Autor u članku kritički promišlja o stanju u pastoralu župne zajednice. U prvom poglavlju teološki-pastoralno analizira ambivalentnost moderne kulture i njezine konzekvence na pastoralno djelovanje Crkve. U drugom poglavlju ističući važnost prepoznavanja znakova vremena naglašava presudnost izgradnje osobnog odnosa s Bogom kao i suradnje s drugima u zajedničkom poslanju izgradnje Božjeg kraljevstva. U zaključnom dijelu rada donosi neke konkretne prijedloge, smjernice preobrazbe Crkve u sinodalnom duhu. U procesu trajnog posadašnjenja (aggiornamenta) kršćanske poruke ističe osobito važnost autentičnosti, vjernosti kršćanskoj istini kao i presudnost blizine, egzistencijalnog obraćanja i trajnog suputništva sa suvremenim čovjekom u njegovim radostima i žalostima, uspjesima i pogreškama.


Often in the local Church, especially at meetings involving priests, both in the Franciscan Province of the Most Holy Redeemer and in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Split-Makarska, priests often lament about the exceeding high age of most priests (60 years and older). Many health problems of brother priests are also mentioned. Without neglecting our reality, given that the implementation of our pastoral plans depends on ity regardless of how perfectly they are devised, it is nevertheless tiring to constantly bring up these familiar lamentations. Therefore, this article focuses on what we, the Church, the community of the baptised, can and should do in the mission to which God has called us and which we carry out with others in the Church. I dare point out right away that our mentality, way of life and actions are more troublesome than the age of or the insuffcient number of priests. Why do I think that? Because problems do not only exist in the pastoral activity of older priests. We also have younger priests who are not suffciently active or open enough to cooperate with the lay faithful. Certainly, some priests may feel called out and reproach such academic criticism as they often do toward other academics and, fnally, toward Pope Francis himself, to whom complaints are directed that he criticises priests too often.

Moreover, one can often hear priests say that they try to carefully choose their words when speaking about other believers, that the priests sacrifce a lot despite their age, illnesses, and living conditions, yet they are often criticised by many. Words are also carefully chosen when referring to believers, catechists, movements, associations and communities in the parish. Often, these people and groups are elevated and unduly praised, but when something is not going well in the parish, say, in pastoral care –the parish priest is always the main culprit, as many priests testify. Aware of these situations, I do not want people to feel they are called out in any constructive critique – especially those who do not deserve it. In other words, I do not think parish priests are the main culprits for the situation in the Church.

However, along with everyone else’s involvement, they can do a lot to change this unenviable pastoral lethargy. How can this be achieved? This article intends to answer how to transform pastoral work that is ordinary and mostly static into dynamic missionary activity. The answer will not be exhaustive due to insuffcient knowledge, experience and available opportunity, but a small step to improving the current situation. First, a few words will be given about the current situation because a proper remedy requires a precise diagnosis.

Read the entire article here.

fra Ivica Jurić